Blessings Dear Loved Ones & Prayer Partners!
Greetings to all of you as we await the coming of spring and the many wonderful sights that accompany it. That was our greeting last month as the weather seemed to be changing, but now as many of you look around you, you are faced with colder temperatures and yes some of you with fresh fallen snow. Oops, does that sound familiar? Now this is the 3rd month in a row with the same greeting! YUCK! Please go to our blog: http://theraven4god.blogspot.com/ to see what I am talking about! As we’ve told you before the new school year starts the first of April as well as the time companies bring on new workers. It is always a VERY busy time of year for everyone, especially young families, as they prepare for school and take a short visit back to grandma’s house. With that in mind, Mako and I decided to have our Easter Egg Hunt on Saturday April 17th. We thought it would give us a chance to have more people come and with the later date, the weather should be PERFECT! Well, if you went to the blog, you would know that we woke up on the morning of the 17th to FOUR INCHES OF NEW SNOW!!!!! The weather man was calling for the snow changing to rain and lasting until late that afternoon. What to do??? Before 7 in the morning we were talking with Mako and decided that the best idea was to move ahead with our plans. The previous week we had all of our young students paint and color eggs and we had over 500 that wouldn’t keep until the following week. We emailed all of the people that were suppose to come and told them to dress warm, wear boots and please bring chairs to sit on as the ground will be too wet. We loaded up the car and headed to the park. Not knowing how many people would attend, we just trusted that God would take care of all things. When I placed the first egg down, it disappeared! The snow around the outside of the park was still too deep! I found out if I placed my boot down first, I could place the egg in the depression. So we started hiding the eggs. As the morning continued, the snow began to melt and by the time the hunters came at 10:30 we and the weather were ready to go. We had over 20 people cancel, but some new add-ons and a few husbands and we ended with a total of EIGHTY FOUR PEOPLE!!!! Only 11 were CHRISTIANS! We hid 12 plastic eggs to tell the resurrection story. It was so wonderful and also amazing to watch the excitement and interest in the kids (and some of the parents) faces as Pastor Kitamura and Naoko explained the meaning of each egg. It was really GREAT! Please pray that God’s Spirit will be talking to each one and they will have the desire to know more about our wonderful risen Savior.
Next week is ‘Golden Week’ here as there are 4 National Holidays falling with in a 7 day period. Many people will be traveling and the price and costs of everything rise dramatically. Everybody in the country takes the same time off, and it really crowds the trains and roadways. This year will be especially busy as many people that would have traveled to Europe during this time will remain in Japan because of the volcano in Iceland. We are planning to go to another prefecture Sunday night after church to watch Zack play. Without traffic it is about a 5 hour drive, but we will start out about 7 and hope that we can get about ½ way before we hit our first traffic jam. When we stop, we will look for a rest area and sleep in our car until 2 or 3 in the morning and then continue our journey. Hopefully we will make it in plenty of time to catch his first game of the day. His team has been doing really well, during spring break they played in 3 tournaments in the Osaka area. (About 6 hours from here) They finished 3rd, 2nd and 1st! They did GREAT! Zack has been doing really well and still growing. While Kim was watching them play in Osaka his coach told her that Zack had committed to attend Tokai University in Yokohama, so we look like we will be staying for at least 5 more years or until God gives us new directions. They have given Zack their BEST scholarship which will save us about $60,000!!!!! God is so GREAT! We still have to pay for his dormitory and food plus basketball clothes and some travel, so it will still be about $1,000 per month, but with Kim picking up a few new classes we should be in good shape. We are anxious to watch him continue to improve. He will move from the center position to forward, which will fit his offensive style much better. Presently the school has 10 members playing here professionally, and last year 2 members were drafted that are basically the same height as Zack, so he is (and of course we are!) excited about the opportunities that are being presented to him.
Ian is searching for direction in his life, and is now living in Tokyo with two friends that he met at Hakuba during the winter. One is from Canada and the other from Australia. He is looking for a job that can offer him a future, so please pray that God will open up the right door for him.
I am always busy with my classes, and now am busy landscaping a friends new Dental Office. To squeeze in the time, I start there at 5 in the morning and work until my English classes start and then teach until 9 or so in the evening. It makes for a long day, but we are planning to make a trip to Okinawa this summer for the National Basketball tournament, so we think God is giving us this opportunity to help pay a little towards that cost.
Kim is now getting busier and busier. I’m not sure if it’s because of the empty nest, or that she is finding out that she enjoys sharing her English skills with others, but she is picking up new classes. She starts next week teaching 3 classes at a local high school on Tuesdays, then 3 classes Wednesday night at NAGA then Friday she is back to the Nozawa Elementary School. It is a big change for her, but seems like she is really enjoying it. God is just so great and it is giving her a chance to shine His light in many new areas and meet many wonderful people.
We have many dear friends that are suffering from different ailments and many ask us to pray for them but keep it a secret. So we don’t agree with that but respect their position, so please pray for the soul’s and bodies in need here and there. God knows each one.
*Heather’s father-in-love, Charles Hefner, continues to receive treatment for cancer so we ask for prayers for him and the family.
We trust God to equip us for each individual challenge and opportunity that He presents. Your prayers and support are vital to our being here. Please pray with and for us that we always strive to walk before God, wherever that may be, and be used as instruments of His love in all we do. Should God ask any of you to partner with us in our outreach for Him, please send any love offerings to: Bethlehem United Methodist Church, for Baranski John Alan Mission Fund, c/o Becky Wack, 1003 Rowan Cove, New Albany, Ms. 38652.
We hold you each in our hearts and prayers with thanksgiving.
In His love & walking before Him, the Baranski Bunch